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Hobart’s Liz Zapata, from district 151, turns in a time of 17.791 at the Grand National Horsemen’s Association’s Playday Finals at the Great Plains Coliseum on Friday.

Showing their skills

GNHA heads into final day with some divisions on line

If you happened to drop by the Comanche County Fairgrounds this week to check out the Grand National Horsemen's Association Playday Finals, you wouldn't need long to realize it sure isn't a rodeo, even though many people try to call it such.

What the event entails are games, or events, that help showcase the horsemanship skills of the rider and the ability of the horse to run a variety of patterns. The only event that would be seen at a rodeo is barrel racing, but here it's for both the men and women.

At the GNHA Playday Finals, everyone competes in each event and the points are tallied to determine an all-around champion in each of the seven age groups. Those saddles are like gold to these competitors and when they are presented at tonight's awards banquet, those honors will draw the most attention.

As has been the case often in recent years, today's final event, the flagpole, will probably determine the winners in at least a couple of divisions. Last year three divisions had champions clinched by mid-week but at least one, the women's division, didn't get decided until the final event.

So, who dreams up events such as the potato, bowtie, flags, spur, etc?

"Most of these games were just dreamed up by competitors in the the past," current GNHA president Robert White said. "It's been some time since we've changed them because people get comfortable with what we're doing and don't want to vary from that popular list.

"But every now and then we get a new game brought up by a member, or even a district. The members have until the end of the Finals (this week's event) to submit any change in the schedule. Then what the board will do is allow that new game to be tested at the Spring Roundup.

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